Fact check: Fake posts fuel safety fears among migrant workers in Tamil Nadu

With rumours of migrant workers from north India being attacked in Tamil Nadu flying thick and fast, several posts with false or misleading claims have been doing the rounds on social media, leaving these workers fearing for their safety. Here’s a round-up of such posts.

Updated - March 08, 2023 02:02 pm IST

Published - March 06, 2023 05:17 pm IST

A screenshot from one of the videos being shared with false claims.

A screenshot from one of the videos being shared with false claims.

The report contains links to videos/images from external websites that are graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.

A number of social media posts claiming that “Bihari migrant labourers” were attacked in Tamil Nadu has created panic in both the States. With the Bihar and Tamil Nadu governments swinging into action, the police from both the States have filed a number of cases and made arrests. The Hindu analysed these viral videos and found out that they are misleading and some of them are not from Tamil Nadu.

Clip of public thrashing in Punjab shared with misleading claim

A viral video of a man being assaulted in public is being associated with alleged attacks on Biharis in Tamil Nadu.

Archived link here.

The clip shows a group of people beating the man with what appear to be iron rods, even as he pleads with them to spare him. It has been viewed over 25,000 times, as of March 8.

The Hindu found that the incident took place in Punjab, and had nothing to do with Biharis living in Tamil Nadu.

Through a reverse image search of screenshots from the video, we found a news report published by Punjabi outlet Jagbani. According to the report, the incident took place in Sunam, Punjab, and the victim was identified as Sonu Kumar, a resident of the town.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal had also highlighted the incident in a tweet criticising the law and order situation in Punjab.

The Hindustan Times reported that the assailants were bootleggers who suspected the victim of being a police informant.

Lawyer’s murder passed off as attack on ‘Hindi-speaking people’

A video of a man being attacked in broad daylight is being shared on Twitter with the claim that it exemplifies the “continuous murderous attacks on Hindi-speaking people” in Tamil Nadu.

Archived link here.

The author has even tagged the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister of Bihar in the post, which has received over 6,69,000 views, as of March 6.

But it has nothing to do with migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.

The Hindu broke down the video into keyframes and conducted a reverse image search, which led us to social media posts claiming that it showed the murder of a lawyer named Jugraj Chauhan in Rajasthan.

Using this as a hint, we did a keyword search on ‘Jugraj Chauhan murder’ and found reports on the advocate’s murder from The Free Press Journal and ABP News.

The incident had occurred at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, not Tamil Nadu.

Hyderabad hacking falsely linked to Tamil Nadu

A clip showing three armed persons ganging up on a man and brutally assaulting him in public is being linked to alleged attacks on Biharis in Tamil Nadu.

Archived link here and here

A Twitter user posted the video with an appeal to the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, to do something about such incidents.

The post has been viewed over 30,000 times, as of March 6.

But The Hindu found that the video is from Telangana, not Tamil Nadu.

A reverse image search took us to a news report by ETV Bharat, featuring the same clip.

According to the report, the incident took place on Jiyaguda Bypass Road near Puranapul under the Kulsumpura police station limits in Hyderabad.

The Hindu had reported that the victim was identified as Jangam Sainath, 32, of Esamia Bazaar, Koti, and that the police were suspecting that past rivalry may have been the motive for the attack.

Coimbatore gang violence video shared with false claim

A video clip of a group of people attacking a man with sickles in full public view is being shared on social media, with the claim that it shows the plight of Biharis and Hindi-speaking people in Coimbatore.

On Twitter, the video was posted along with an appeal to the Chief Minister of Bihar to take action over the incident.

Archived link here.

Through a combination of reverse image and keyword search, The Hindu found that the video was linked to gang violence in Coimbatore, and not any targeted attack on Biharis or Hindi speakers in the city.

A PTI report on the gang violence, carried by news9live, featured visuals that matched the ones we were searching for. A further search took us to our own report on the same incident, in which a 24-year-old man, identified as G. Gokul of Kavundampalayam, was hacked to death near the Combined Court Complex in Gopalapuram, in a suspected act of retaliation for his involvement in another murder.

This video was also among the two specific fake posts that Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu sought to debunk in a video message aimed at assuaging the fears of migrant workers in the State.

Fact check: Fake

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